Wegener’s granulomatosis is an autoimmune vascular disease that can affect both men and women. Autoimmune disorders are caused when the body’s immune system, which is meant to defend the body against bacteria, viruses, and any other foreign product, malfunctions and produces antibodies against healthy tissue, cells and organs. In Wegener’s granulomatosis, an autoantibody is directed toward components in the cytoplasm of certain white cells.
Although Wegener’s is more common in persons of middle age, it can affect persons of any age. The first manifestations generally involve the upper and lower respiratory tract, with a chronic, progressive inflammation. The inflammation may form lumps or granulomas in the tissues or in the skin. It may progress into generalized inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) and kidneys (glomerulonephritis). A limited form of the disease that does not involve the kidneys may occur.
As to symptoms, most patients first notice symptoms in the upper respiratory tract. A common manifestation of the disease is a persistent runny nose or other cold-like symptoms that do not respond to standard treatment, and that become progressively worse. Complaints also include sinusitis, nasal membrane ulcerations and crusting, inflammation of the ear with hearing problems, cough, coughing of blood and inflammation of the lining of the lung which results in a stabbing pain (called pleuritis).
Other initial symptoms include fever, fatigue, feeling ill, loss of appetite, weight loss, joint pain, night sweats, changes in the color of urine, and weakness. Not all Wegener’s patients experience all of the above symptoms. The severity of the disease is different with each patient. Fever is often present, sometimes resulting from bacterial infection in the sinuses.
Vasculitis is the result of an autoimmune reaction in the wall of small and medium-sized blood vessels. Chronic vasculitis causes a narrowing of the inside of the blood vessel and can result in obstruction of the flow of blood to the tissues and may cause damage to the tissues.
Conventional treatment involves the use of Prednisone and other corticosteroids. Often patients are unable to tolerate the toxic side effects of these drugs.
The alternative, nutritional medicine approach is to identify hidden allergies by blood test and avoid those allergens (primarily foods). Also enzyme potentiated desensitization holds hope for putting the disease in long term remission.